What do too few agents know that would make their lives easier?
It is only real estate. It is not life or death. Drama, stress and frustration will rob one of the pleasurable aspects of this business. When an offer has been submitted and I am waiting for a response, or a managing agent does not respond in a timely fashion, or another agent is slow to get back to me, I try to remind myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and remind myself it is “only real estate.”
What is the one thing everyone should be doing to make their life/business better?
Please try to overlook that this may sound facile: Nothing is more important than gratitude. In any situation, if one stands back and sees the big picture, a crisis can become an opportunity, problems can be solved and tension can be averted.
I tell my clients that my job is to worry. They should sleep peacefully, and I will be up in the middle of the night worrying; that is my job. One’s attitude and point of view control is almost everything in life.
In any customer service industry in which people’s homes, lives and money all play crucial roles, it is vital to be focused on the buyers’ and sellers’ expectations, understanding the buying and selling process, and other factors of their lives that impact the transactions. If an agent is not sensitive to the buyer or seller’s life situation, mental state, or family issues, the agent will be resentful and unhappy.
What was your most memorable transaction?
I was selling a two-family house across the street from my family’s home in Brooklyn. The seller overpriced the house, and over time, we had to lower the price, but there were long weeks of open houses. This was overshadowed by the seller having two very large, very vocal parrots with filthy mouths in what had formerly been the dining room.
Imagine, if you will, entering a beautiful 100-year-old house with stately, well-maintained oak wainscoting and a grand staircase, only to be greeted by parrots shrieking obscenities before buyers even entered their immediate area.
Even more off-putting, the birds imitated the Irish brogue of the seller’s late mother, who had been living in the house with her while ill. Buyers heard an Irish senior citizen screaming: “Maureen, call the priest! This is it. I am going to meet your father in heaven!” It was right out of a Steven King novel!
I finally had to insist that the birds’ enormous cages be covered with sheets during the open houses, so buyers could move through the house without trauma.
Additionally, the basement of the house had a full apartment with a kitchen and bathroom, although the kitchen appliances were not connected. The appraiser would not accept that the house was a two-family home and kept insisting it was a three-family. A contractor had to remove the shower in the basement bathroom and all the appliances in the basement kitchen.